One time when I was a young boy I saw a documentary on TV, that happened to show a large tesla coil in operation at some college, from that moment on the Tesla Coil bug had bitten me. I knew someday I would have to own one of these wonderful devices. The loud noise, the powerful arcs of flowing electric was absolutely amazing. Now that I am getting older, I am the proud owner of three tesla coils, a wimhurst machine, van de graff generator, odin coil, and other high voltage devices.

Before I start telling you how a tesla coil works, I should take a little time to tell you about it's inventor, Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, was an inventor, a mechanical and an electrical engineer. Born in Smiljan, Croatian Krajina, Austrian Empire, he was an ethnic Serb subject of the Austrian Empire and later became an American citizen. Tesla invented numerous things and had acquired around 300 patents worldwide for his ideas. Some of Tesla's patents include such amazing devices as the AC motor, bifilar coil, various devices that use rotating magnetic fields, AC polyphase power distribution system, wireless communication devices, radio frequency oscillators, voltage magnification by standing waves, robotics, logic gates for secure radio frequency communications, devices for x-rays, apparatus for ozone generation, devices for ionized gases, devices for high field emissions, devices for charged particle beams, means for increasing the intensity of electrical oscillations, voltage multiplication circuitry, devices for high voltage discharges , devices for lightning protection, the bladeless turbine, and many more.

If you do some searching on the internet or other sources for tesla coils, most places try to explain these devices in terms that only a physics expert can understand. I have broken down the tesla coil into it's 6 main parts or components, with easy to understand terminology on the operation. The 6 main components are the transformer, capacitor, spark gap, primary coil, secondary coil and discharge sphere.

The TRANSFORMER takes 110 volt wall socket current or current from another source, and steps it up to several thousand volts (depending on the transformer). CAPACITOR – Acts like a battery, and takes the stepped-up voltage and stores it until it's fully charged. Once fully charged, the SPARK-GAP fires, releasing all of the capacitors stored energy in a sngle strong burst or pulse. From the SPARK-GAP, the current flows to the large PRIMARY COIL. The PRIMARY COIL, is usually made from thick copper wire or even pipe, consisting of 5-25 turns or coils. This large copper coil produces a strong magntic field as the current flows through it, the current is then picked up by the SECONDARY COIL. The SECONDARY COIL, acts like another transformer, and consist of numerous turns or coils of smaller gauge copper wire. Here the current continues building by the effects of the magnetic field on the copper, until it reaches massive voltage levels. This current moves up into the DISCHARGE SPHERE. The DISCHARGE SPHERE also acts like a simple capacitor (storage battery), before discharging the current as sparks and corona.

There is a website that describes the tesla coil and numerous other high voltage devices in detail, this website is called: How a Tesla Coil Works and it may be found at this url: /tesla-coil.html

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